At 51, I’m by far the youngest patient in the Cardiac Rehab center. The next closest in age, I’m guessing, is late 60s. And by far, I’m working the hardest. I’m burning 518 calories-per-hour on my fast moving treadmill set at a 7% incline, and it’s been at this pace non-stop for 40 minutes. I’m here in pursuit of one goal: to gain confidence.
In a little over a month, I’ll embark upon a 3 ½ week sabbatical which will involve 7,200 miles of travel by car, kayak, and airplane to four different states and - more importantly – will include 35 miles of hiking. I need this time in rehab to build confidence; to show myself and other interested parties that my recovering heart can handle the upcoming hiking stress.
Last December, in the biggest shocker of my life, I suffered a myocardial infarction - a stinking heart attack. Luckily, I reacted promptly to the elephant sitting on my chest and received excellent medical care utilizing the latest technology. The damage was minimized and the blockages are now opened. Thankfully, I have been encouraged to cautiously resume life (and my sabbatical planning) as normal; hence, the rehab.
The itinerary for the upcoming 3 ½ weeks gets tweaked daily. Although the big stops are set, the little details are continually being refined. The big stops represent the skeleton of the trip and reflect my support of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – an organization I’ve been volunteering with for years. Since 1951, TNC has thoughtfully preserved ecologically-sensitive lands in every state in the union. I plan on visiting up to twenty of these locations in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Arizona atop mountains, along streams, amid forests, and in marshlands. Some visits will include escorts from TNC providing deeper insights than what I’d be able to gather alone. My years of volunteering should be paying dividends on this trip.
It should be a whirlwind, heart-pumping tour and I’m doing everything I can to prepare.
Stay tuned… If my plan works, reports from beautiful preserved locations will be rolling in soon.